Employees from the TV production company Strix attacked the Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt on Tuesday night at the premiere of the film “Pirates of the Caribbean”. Reinfeldt was attending the event with two of his children when a reporter approached him with a fake microphone (branded with SVT’s logo) and splashed water over him. The “practical joke” was part of a new show, “Balls of steel”, that is supposed to be broadcast on SVT (the Swedish public service tv). In the show, famous people are ridiculed and then interviewed about how it felt (yes kids, this is high quality, public service entertainment).
With other fatal attacks on leading Swedish politicians fresh in memory (the murders of Anna Lindh and Olof Palme), few saw any humor in the so called joke. The Swedish security police SÄPO have reported the incident to the police and Eva Hamilton, the managing director of SVT, has been forced to apologize for the attack.
Robert Aschberg, managing director of Strix, pooh-poohs the whole kerfuffle in an interview in Resumé where he says that it “has taken ridiculous proportions” and that “it interferes with our production”. Really?
Journalists are now afraid that their access to leading policitians will be restriced due to this incident.
Sidenote: This was probably not the kind of PR that the film company was aiming for with the movie premiere.
Update: Artist Per Gessle of Roxette fame was another “victim” for the show. The reporter tried to get Gessle to push a button on a pen that would have given him an electric shock. When Gessle refused the reporter shouted “sucker, fucking sucker” after him and his son. Aschberg comments: “…I think he should have taken the pen, it would have made the show funnier.”